GRR

Race report: 77MM – Gerry Marshall Trophy

06th April 2019
Richard Heseltine

Craig Davies and Andy Newall emerged victorious in a thrilling 45-minute Gerry Marshall Trophy encounter for Group One saloon cars on Saturday evening. It was dramatic race, with works Porsche ace Neil Jani blasting into the lead from the outside of the front row at the start in the Rover SD1 he was sharing with James Wood, only to run out of road seconds later.

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It soon settled down to a Ford Mustang battle up front, with Davies heading double-Le Mans winner Romain Dumas, aboard Bill Shepherd’s ex-Richard Lloyd example, as Tom Blomqvist kept a watching brief in Kerry Michael’s ‘flat-front’ Ford Escort RS2000. Barely 0.2 seconds blanketed the lead duo at quarter-distance, with Blomqvist a couple of tenths further back. The top three were a remarkable twelve seconds ahead of their pursuers with 20 minutes run.

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Sadly, the lead battle was nullified after Dumas connected with the back of Davies coming out the chicane with 20 minutes left to run. Davies pitted to swap places with wingman Newall on the next tour, as Blomqvist assumed the lead. The World Endurance Championship star drove the Escort on its lock-stops for lap after lap, and only stopped to hand the car over to its owner Kerry Michaels shortly before the pit window closed with 15 minutess left to run. Sadly, Michaels retired the car from second place to Newall with five minutes left to run.

Newall survived a last lap scare after the car slowed appreciably, to lead home Jani and Wood by 33 seconds, with the Faberge-liveried Chevrolet Camaro Z/28 of Nigel Garrett and septuagenarian star Stuart Graham in third.

Photography by Pete Summers.

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